Published: April 30, 2019

As a candidate for a degree from CU Boulder, you are cordially invited to participate in the university commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 9, in Folsom Stadium. Chancellor DiStefano and I hope you will join the CU Boulder faculty and staff in celebration of your accomplishments. In this letter, I will share details about the tradition of commencement, as well as times, locations and events that will be important to you. 

The commencement ceremony is full of tradition and meaning. From the academic regalia you wear, to the moment of moving your tassel and entering the company of scholars—I hope you will visit the commencement website to learn more about this momentous occasion, answer your questions and find additional information.

Bud Coleman

Professor and Commencement Marshal Bud Coleman

Breakfast on The Quad, photos with Alfie

A complimentary breakfast will be available to all graduates beginning at 7 the Norlin Quadrangle. The breakfast is sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor, Senior Class Council and the CU Book Store. This will be a zero-waste event. Please plan to attend and enjoy the company of your fellow graduates before the procession into the stadium. Pose for a selfie with Alfie (the giant blow-up buffalo), find your spot in the procession and get ready for the big event.

The procession, security screenings

The university commencement ceremony is preceded by the traditional procession across campus. Students are asked to meet in the Norlin Quadrangle, directly west of the Norlin Library, by 7:30 a.m. Look for the signs indicating your school or college, as each will proceed into the stadium behind their flag. The procession will begin promptly at 8 a.m. Upon arrival at the stadium, all students will enter through gates 14 and 18 on the north end of the stadium and process to the seating area on the field.

For the safety of you and your guests, the commencement procession will pass through security screening before entering the stadium. This will include walk-through metal detectors and may include wanding. To expedite the screening, please keep personal items to a minimum—cellphones, keys or items such as belt buckles will not trigger a secondary screening. If you need to carry more items with you, please refer to the clear bag policy.

Due to the size of the ceremony, you will not need to be in alphabetical order within your college or school group. Graduates will be seated in a single-file line. Once you enter the stadium make sure you are lined up with members of your group and follow the directions of the commencement marshals (wearing yellow stoles) to your seat.

The ceremony

There is a reason the signature song of graduation ceremonies is “Pomp and Circumstance.” Many special moments will make up the order of ceremonies, including the singing of the national anthem, the commencement address by our special guest, Savannah Sellers, and the conferral of degrees.

No tickets are required for the ceremony. Please let your guests know that they should be seated well before 8:15 a.m. to view the procession into the stadium. Early arrival guarantees the best seating. If friends or family are unable to attend in person, a livestream of the event will be available on the commencement website.

Master’s candidates are seated on the west side of the stadium, and Doctoral candidates are seated on the east side. Degree candidates from the College of Arts and Sciences are seated on the west side of the stadium, and candidates from the College of Music, Program in Environmental Design, the College of Media, Communication and Information, Leeds School of Business and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences are seated on the east side of the stadium. This is great information to share with your guests if they are hoping to be as close to you as possible during the ceremony.

Also, please note that the ceremony will be held in Folsom Stadium regardless of the weather. Please check the forecast and dress accordingly. Sunscreen is recommended!

Please refer to the commencement website for accessibility and parking information.


CU Boulder is committed to the safety of family, friends and graduates during the commencement ceremony. For your safety, we ask that you observe the following:

  • All graduates and guests will pass through security screening.
  • The Folsom Field clear bag policy will be enforced. The only bags allowed into Folsom Field are bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12" x 6" x 12" or one-gallon (or smaller) clear plastic Ziploc/freezer bag. No other bags are permitted at all; includes backpacks, diaper bags and other similar bags. All items may be subject to search. No bottles or containers will be allowed in the student seating area before or during the ceremony. Learn more about permitted items on the commencement website.
  • In the event that the stadium must be evacuated, please remain calm and exit to the north through Gates 14 and 18. These are the gates through which graduates enter the stadium for the ceremony. Gate 14 is on the east side of the Dal Ward Athletic Center and Gate 18 is on the west side.
  • Listen carefully and follow any instructions which may be issued by the master of ceremonies, chief of police, fire chief or other public authority. Commencement marshals will be available to assist if necessary.
  • Families and guests can opt-in to CU Boulder Alert emergency messaging during commencement by texting “CUGRAD” to 81437. You will be subscribed to emergency alerts through May 11, 2019.

Academic regalia

The university commencement ceremony is an academic ceremony; all participants must wear traditional CU academic regalia. Undergraduates are required to purchase regalia for the ceremony from the CU Book Store. Master’s, doctoral and law students are required to rent academic regalia for the ceremony. Please refer to the commencement web site for specific times and details for ordering and pickup of your regalia.

Congratulations on your degree from the University of Colorado Boulder. I look forward to greeting you on May 9.


Bud Coleman
Professor and Boulder Campus Commencement Marshal